Ford Mustang Mach-E: A premium sports SUV at a less-than-premium price

Ford Mustang E
Words by Vicky Parrott
Pros – Long range; loads of equipment; practical; great to drive
Cons – Firm ride comfort; Tesla-style touchscreen can be confusing
Price: £41,330 - £58,080
Ford Mustang E

Ford seemed rather late to the electric party a few years ago. It had nothing to offer in the electric car stakes next to early EV pioneers like Kia, Nissan, BMW and Tesla. So when - seemingly out of the blue - the Ford Mustang Mach-E was unveiled in 2019, it was a bit like discovering that Steptoe and Son had been sitting on a secret Bitcoin fortune.

Here was a car that’s a clear departure from Ford’s previous design ethos up, and that gave the impression of having leapfrogged an entire generation of development and gone straight for Tesla’s jugular. Even the interior was a huge step up for the American brand, not least thanks to a huge, touchscreen interface that forms the portal to almost all of the car’s controls and is complete with over-the-air updates. A bit like the screen in a Tesla, then…

The Mustang Mach-E sits in the large SUV class. For some context of where it sits within the established SUV class, it’s in between a BMW X3 and BMW X5 in size. It has the option of two batteries with usable capacities of 68kWh or 88kWh – dubbed Standard Range and Extended Range. Both of these batteries can be had with either rear- or four-wheel drive, which results in an official WLTP range of between 273- and 379 miles.

It’s not short on power, either. Even the slowest of the Mustang Mach-E’s will hit the 62mph mark in just over 6.0 seconds, while the forthcoming GT model will do a Tesla-worrying 3.7sec, so it’s certainly got one over on much slower rivals like the VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV.

Even so, a chunky SUV like the Ford Mustang Mach-E undoubtedly has a lot to live up to in terms of practicality, comfort, tech and real-world range so read on for the full review.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Extended Range AWD

  • Motor: Dual electric motors, four-wheel drive
  • Battery capacity total/usable: 98.7kWh / 88kWh
  • Max power: 341bhp
  • Max torque: 580Nm
  • 0 to 62mph: 5.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 112mph
  • Official range: 335 miles (WLTP combined)
  • Est. real-world range winter/summer: 200 / 310 miles
  • Efficiency on test: 2.5m/kWh
  • Price: £57,030

Range and Charging

Ford Mustang E

We’ve only driven the Mustang Mach-E All Wheel Drive Extended Range, which gets that bigger 88kWh battery and an official WLTP range (the figure achieved under uniform, government-regulated lab tests) of 335 miles. However, in varied driving with a fair bit of motorway miles thrown in and dry, 10degC temperatures, we saw a real-world range of 225 miles.

Another long trip, in similar weather but with more time spent on free-flowing rural roads, saw that creep up to over 270 miles – or 3.1 miles/kWh. As such, we’d estimate that you should expect to get around 200 miles from the Mustang Mach-E AWD Extended Range in very cold conditions on a constant motorway run – always the worst case scenario for any electric car. But, in warmer conditions and at a more moderate pace it’s realistic to expect that you’ll see north of 300 miles, which is not bad at all for such a big, powerful car.

Plug in to a 7kW home wallbox and the Mustang Mach-E will be fully charged in between 11 and 13 hours depending on whether you go for the Standard Range or Extended Range. Rapid charging rates peak at 115kW for the smaller battery model, or 150kW for the big battery. That’s equivalent to a 100 mile top-up in around 15 minutes or 20 minutes if you plug into a charger offering rates of 150kW or more.

The Mach-E gets Type 2 and CCS charging sockets, which are the European standard socket types for electric vehicle charging, and are compatible with the vast majority of public chargers in Western Europe. Cables for charging at a Type 2 (which is the connection you’ll see on all home wallboxes and most slow public chargers) and at a standard three-pin domestic socket are provided. The latter is best reserved for weekend stay-overs with friends or family, when there’s time for the slow top-up rate of 7 miles per hour (at best) to make a decent difference to your range. You don’t need a cable for rapid charging; the cables are built into the rapid charging stations themselves.

The drive

Ford Mustang E

You may have noticed by now that there’s something missing from the Mustang Mach-E: a Ford badge. You won’t find a blue oval anywhere obvious, it’s all Mustang badges. Of course, that’s a significant nod to the fact that Ford is turning its iconic muscle car model name into a brand all of its own, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the Mustang label brings certain expectations when it comes to how a car drives. So, can a large, pure electric SUV live up to the Mustang heritage?

Well, yes and no. If you’re expecting riotous sports car fun then you may be disappointed, but by the standards of its peers the Mustang Mach-E is one of the best out there for being able to deliver a thrill.

Power output varies a little depending on which model you go for, but the All Wheel Drive Extended Range that we’ve tested gets 346bhp and a seriously sprightly 0-62mph time of 5.1sec. That’s up there with rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron for straight line pace.

It’s no surprise, then, that on the road the Mustang Mach-E feels seriously rapid. Even if you go for a mid-range burst of acceleration, there’s a fairly shocking and rather entertaining punch to the way it goes down the road. There is a slightly softer throttle response and a more gradual build of pace than you get in the Jaguar I-Pace, for instance, and of course it’s really easy to judge the Mach-E’s throttle response whether you’re winding through town or down a decent road. It is, by any measure, a really easy car to drive smoothly.

That’s partly thanks to the brake regeneration modes, which in the default setting is very light. If you step into the Mustang Mach-E having never driven an EV before, you may well not even notice that it’s actually braking the car very lightly when you lift off the throttle, in order to gather energy from the car’s forward movement and improve efficiency. There is a one-pedal drive mode that you activate on the big touchscreen, which increases the brake regen very noticeably and you’ll really feel the car braking as you ease off the accelerator. It’s still smooth and predictable but, of course, it’s heavy enough that you often don’t need to touch the brake pedal to bring the car to a stop.

Another reason that the Ford is such a nice, fluid drive is the steering. This weights up as you toggle through the theatrically named drive modes of Whisper, Active and Untamed, and we certainly prefer it in the heavier setting since it feels a touch too light and disconnected in Whisper (aka Eco mode to the rest of us). In Untamed, you can tip the big Ford into a corner and there’s a good sense of what’s going on at the wheels, and plenty of confidence to make the most of the car’s impressive grip.

Ford Mustang E

It’s even quite a playful-feeling. You can adjust the line using the throttle, and provided you balance the car’s weight nicely there is a fleet-footed, poised feel to the way the Mustang Mach-E jinks through corners that you don’t often get in big electric SUVs. But, you are always conscious of that weight. It just doesn’t shrink itself and take on a sports car feel like the Jaguar I-Pace, which remains a sky-high
benchmark for fun factor in an electric SUV.

Ride comfort is one area that the Ford feels like it could be improved. There are no adaptive dampers available, and the standard suspension can feel quite firm - not crashy or jarring, but the car does bob up and down a lot over undulating roads and the suspension is fairly noisy, too. Still, refinement is very good otherwise, with wind noise, tyre road and motor whine all kept to a minimum. In fact, even with a slightly fussy ride, the Ford’s real party trick its rather two-sided nature: fast and fun or effortlessly easygoing. All you have to do is
pick which one you’re in the mood for.

The tech stuff

Ford Mustang E

The Mustang Mach-E has gone full Tesla with its tech arsenal. The chief feature is the 15.5-inch touchscreen, which is not only your media and nav portal but is also how you change the car’s dynamic modes and system settings, leaving the dash virtually free of buttons. You get all the features you’d expect in the Mustang Mach-E’s infotainment system including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav, digital radio and Bluetooth.

One of the big benefits to such a big screen is that it can keep your map screen (or whatever readout you prefer) showing on the upper half, while you prod through your music choices – which include streaming services courtesy of the Mach-E in-built wi-fi – or other settings lower down the screen. The temperature is controlled through the screen, too, but is always visible and adjustable via a permanent menu bar along the lower edge, so you can tweak it easily without disrupting your other readouts.

There’s voice control, too (although we’re yet to experience an in-car voice control system that isn’t hit-and-miss at best), and the rotary volume dial actually set into the screen is a neat touch, too. It’s way easier to use than the touch-sensitive slider switches in the VW ID.4, for instance. Wireless phone charging is also included on every Mach-E. More than that, over-the-air software updates mean that the Ford’s infotainment and other systems can be upgraded without trips to the dealer so the touchscreen will remain modern and filled with the latest features even if you keep the car for many years.

Naturally, there’s a digital readout for the driver as well. It’s a fairly simple, letterbox-shaped screen that sits behind the wheel, and while you can vary the information, we rather like the fact that it’s tailored to just show the basic, essential information like speed and range.

The touchscreen isn’t where it ends with the Ford’s tech stuff, either. The doors have a clever feature in the ‘valet’ passcode mode. Simply touch the B-pillar and a series of touch-sensitive numbers light up, allowing you to punch in a pre-set code for entry, allowing you to leave your keys , phone and other valuables safely in the car while you go for a run, swim or any other lycra-clad, pocketless outdoor activity. You can also set your phone up as the key, which is a neat trick that many of the latest electric cars are offering including the Tesla
Model 3.

Notably, Ford’s also gone for handleless doors. So, whichever of the unlocking modes you go for – key, phone or code – you just press a button and the door pops open. In stark contrast to this, to open the bonnet of the car (where you might well store charging cables) you have to use an old-fashioned double-pull, mechanical release in the passenger footwell, which seems virtually stone age next to the rest of the Ford’s swanky tech. Just an electronic button release somewhere in the cabin would be a far more convenient release method than having to grub around in the footwell.

Safety equipment is as advanced as you’d expect. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function and lane-keep assist combine to give it a semi-autonomous driving mode, albeit one that’s not as advanced as the Tesla Autopilot system. Autonomous emergency braking, which cuts in if the car senses an imminent collision, is also standard.

Comfort and convenience features are very generous, too. You don’t pick a trim on the Mustang Mach-E, rather you just pick the battery size and whether you want rear- or all-wheel drive and the equipment levels vary according to that with Extended Range usefully better equipped (if also dramatically more expensive to the tune of some £11,000).

Even the cheapest version gets LED headlights, 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera. Extended Range models add 19-inch alloys, full panoramic glass roof, Bang and Olufsen sound system, electric seat adjustment and a 360-degree parking camera amongst other extras.

What’s it like to live with?

Ford Mustang E

In simple terms, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is about as spacious and easy to live with as a five-seat family SUV can be. It’s great to sit in, with masses of leg- and headroom in the front and the back, even if you’ve got the panoramic glass roof that eats into headroom a touch.

There’s also a big, 402-litre boot that’ll easily take a chunky double buggy and a useful amount of bags all in one go, and it’s complete with underfloor storage as well. On top of that, there’s a removable, waterproof, washable storage box in the nose of the car, which is ideal for storing the cables.

The Skoda Enyaq and ID.4 both have bigger boots but they lack the front storage space that the Ford offers. One of our few gripes with the Ford is that we’d like a bit more seat versatility. Sure, the seats split and fold down neatly but in a big SUV like this it’s always good to at least have rear seats that slide individually as well. Granted, this is a feature that’s missing from just about all of the Ford’s rivals, too.

There’s no seven-seat option in the Ford Mustang Mach-E. If you want seven seats and electric power, your only options currently are the Tesla Model X or Mercedes EQV. Our final criticism is that the sleek, coupe roofline eats into the rear door aperture a bit, so there’s not quite as much room to lean in and wrestle your children into their car seats as there is in rivals like the Audi e-tron. We’re really looking for niggles in the generally excellent practicality of the Mustang Mach-E, here, though.

t’s a really lovely place to spend time for the driver and front passenger, too. The materials are a big step up on most other Ford products, and it all has a sense of being solidly built and as plush as you’d expect of a car that can cost £60,000 and more – and certainly will do when the range-topping Ford Mustang Mach-E GT arrives in late 2021. The driving position is really comfortable, too, with supportive seats and plenty of adjustment to allow even very tall drivers to get comfortable.

Should I buy one, then?

Ford Mustang E

Absolutely. The Ford Mustang Mach-E has got big competition from all corners of the market, but it offers a very happy medium between more expensive, premium options like the Jaguar I-Pace, and less performance-focussed, more value-oriented alternatives like the Skoda Enyaq iV. It’s that neat compromise between a sheen of luxury, fun but secure dynamics, big practicality, comparably long driving range and surprisingly decent purchase costs that makes this one of our favourite family EVs. After all, the Ford starts at a very similar price to the Volkswagen ID.4, which isn’t as quick and isn’t quite as well equipped for
the price.

So, while the Skoda Enyaq iV is a better bet if purchase cost is your priority, and the Jaguar I-Pace remains the best electric SUV to drive, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is the happiest compromise between those two disparate poles.

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